Holocaust survivor speaks at Kent State


Erika Taubner Gold, a survivor of the Holocaust, Chaya Kessler, director of Kent State’s Jewish Studies program and Sol Factor, a Kent State Jewish Studies program professor present to Factor’s Children of the Holocaust class Thursday, March 10, 2016.

Keri Richmond

A young, rebellious, jewish girl, who once ripped of her yellow star to sneak away from school to the local pastry shop for a scoop of ice cream, spoke at the business administration building Thursday morning.

Erika Gold, the Hungarian holocaust survivor, visited adjunct professor Sol Factor’s Children in the Holocaust class to speak with the students about her experiences.

“She’s feisty, they (child survivors) had to be,” Factor said.

Gold shared what she went through before, during and after the Holocaust.

Even with the gravity of the topic, Gold still found a way to make the audience laugh as she reminisced on a time when she decided to a rebel.  

“I thought I just had to do something to disobey,” Gold said.

Her father was taken away by the Nazis early on during the war. Leaving her and her mother to wonder if they might ever see him again. They were especially worried after hearing of the brutal murders that took place in Nazi concentration camps.

“It was so horrible,” Gold said, “you can’t imagine people would do something so vicious, but they did.”  

She told of the time when women and children were taken to concentration camps. Gold and her mother were able to sneak off of the truck. They stayed with their housekeeper until the war was over, a fond memory for Gold.

Gold said the housekeeper was courageous for her efforts in risking her life to help Gold and her family.

When the war ended, Gold and her mother were reunited with her father. They soon moved to Cleveland, where Gold attended Cleveland Heights High School and then Case Western Reserve University.

“The most important thing to me was to get back to school,” Gold said.

Nathan Rzepka, a jewish, sophomore history student, asked Gold if she ever had trouble remembering what happened.

“I remember everything,” Gold said, “bad memories stay with you.”  

After her presentation, audience members gathered to the front of the lecture hall to thank Gold for sharing her story and memories of this traumatic time in her life.

“My grandfather is a holocaust survivor,” Rzepka said, “If you don’t keep these stories living, nobody will.”

Gold agreed with Rzepka and sympathized with his wish to keep survivors’ stories from being forgotten.

“It’s not easy, but I feel it’s important,” Gold said.

Keri Richmond is the religion reporter for The Kent Stater, contact her at [email protected]